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HEALTH

MAP: Where are the worst places in France for bed-bugs?

It's been the bane of many a tourist's visit - an infestation of bed-bugs. But the problem in France is so bad that every year thousands of people require medical help.

MAP: Where are the worst places in France for bed-bugs?
Photo: AFP

New data published by the French health ministry shows that between April 2019 and March 2020, 70,000 people made a visit to their doctor that was linked to bed-bugs.

Skin lesions from the bites were the most common reason for the doctor's visit, but many people also reported feeling stressed, anxious and unable to sleep due to the presence of the irritating creatures in their bed.

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In recent years many of the world's tourist hotspots – including Paris – have seen a sharp rise in the number of bed-bug infestations as temperatures rise and the insects become immune to common insecticide treatments.

The data from the French health ministry also gives a breakdown on the areas where the most consultations took place, per 100,000 of the population.

The greater Paris Île-de-France region shows a surprisingly small number of cases, but the data comes from visits to GPs, so is unlikely to include any tourists who have been bitten by the bugs while staying in the capital.

However hoteliers in the area admit that it is a problem.

In 2018 alone, there were 100,000 bed-bug infestations in Paris, according to the French Union for Pest Control (CS3D), a scourge that is now also affecting the capital's hotel industry. 

READ ALSO 'You're better of sleeping in your car' – How Paris is plagued by bed bugs

The southern regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur – which includes the French riviera, Nice and Marseille – and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region – which includes Lyon and Alpine holiday resorts – showed the highest number of consultation per head of the population.

 

 

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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